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  1. #1
    Old School
    Reputation: Joe Steel's Avatar
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    Univega Boralyn ?

    Anybody remember these? I recall the boralyn craze as very short lived. Apparently it is a hazardous metal to machine. Anyway -- I stumbled upon a NOS Univega Boralyn frame from 1995 in a size 19". It is sort of a battleship grey color. I don't have much interest in owning it, but I thought it might stir some memories here.

    You can PM me if you'd like more details on its availability.

    Cheers~
    Joe

  2. #2
    artistic...
    Reputation: colker1's Avatar
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    i remember those.. wasn't grey the only available color? i never read any mention to the frames being lively.. he he
    want: Ibis ti handlebar. suntour 31.8 front derr. bottom pull

  3. #3
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    I know this is a really old thread,but I just had to post this photo. I bought this frame new and built it up piece by piece. It was a great bike for its time. I raced XC with it and even did two fire road type down hill races with it. Over 50mph on the downhill with a road bike big ring, I was wearing full moto cross gear except for my shoes hooked to my Onza pedals. The frame sat in the garage for years untill I decided to turn it into a single speed. I only used it for a few months as a single speed untill it broke. I was going off a 2 foot drop off on my front yard, and BAM, I was on the ground. The crash caused the deepest purple bruses I have ever seen. Well that's my Boralyn story.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    VRC Illuminati
    Reputation: Rumpfy's Avatar
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    I think one made its way through eGay recently as well.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  5. #5
    bonked
    Reputation: IF52's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think it was NOS. That frame above snapped like half the early M2 frames we sold, except they usually snapped within a year or two.

    eGay? Don't you sell a ton of stuff on eBay?
    Quote Originally Posted by banks
    That is one big f'n dude!
    Yes I am!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrench Monkey
    I know this is a really old thread,but I just had to post this photo. I bought this frame new and built it up piece by piece. It was a great bike for its time. I raced XC with it and even did two fire road type down hill races with it. Over 50mph on the downhill with a road bike big ring, I was wearing full moto cross gear except for my shoes hooked to my Onza pedals. The frame sat in the garage for years untill I decided to turn it into a single speed. I only used it for a few months as a single speed untill it broke. I was going off a 2 foot drop off on my front yard, and BAM, I was on the ground.
    Yeap another of the many fail projects of JB Robinson, everything he touches turns to dust..

    The crash caused the deepest purple bruses I have ever seen. Well that's my Boralyn story.
    Just be glad you did not get cut with this material, I have friends that work on the "aerospace" industry that end up getting "Skin Grafts" (whatever you spell it) from their Butt's because the cuts with Boralyn don't really heal that well..

    ps: two feet drop is kind of a lot for a bike like this.

  7. #7
    the new Gilbert Grape
    Reputation: laffeaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Steel
    I recall the boralyn craze as very short lived. Apparently it is a hazardous metal to machine.
    I think that you are confusing Boralyn with Beryllium. Beryllium is a material that is dangerous to build with. American built a vry few bike frames from this.

    Boralyn was a branded name for an Aluminum composite used by Univega (and possibly others). It's a lot like current "Scandium" frames - just because someone calls their Aluminum alloy Scandium, does not mean that the frame is actaully made of Scandium (no more than a tiny percentage anyway).
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  8. #8
    artistic...
    Reputation: colker1's Avatar
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    note to myself: keep riding steel bikes.
    want: Ibis ti handlebar. suntour 31.8 front derr. bottom pull

  9. #9
    Professional Crastinator
    Reputation: Fleas's Avatar
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    I was doing a search for metal matrix composites and I ended up here!

    I had a Boralyn as well as a Boralite.
    They both broke. It was explained to me by someone at Univega who was knowledgeable about the mfg. process that when the aluminum (the matrix) was molten, the ceramic filler (B4C, or something) would begin to float toward the top of the melt. If they didn't maintain agitation and extrude the tubing soon enough, the dispersion of the ceramic would become uncontrollably inconsistent resulting in very brittle areas in the frame tubes. I guess they never solved that problem. Maybe in the future they'll conduct that process in the low gravity of an orbiting space factory.

    I give them credit, though. The theoretical strength was very high. On this bike, the downtube broke (most likely due to the mfg. defect), but the top tube didn't.
    Univega Boralyn ?-boralyn.jpg
    The top tube demonstrated the potential of the material: that a single tube was enough to carry a person without failing - and believe me, it saw some stress when the downtube broke. The frame snapped right back together when I jumped off of it and it took me awhile to find the break.

    The Boralite failed just as miserably, at which point they refunded my $$$.
    Univega Boralyn ?-boralite.jpg

    After that I got an M2 which I rode for maybe 8 yrs. until the chainstay cracked. The Big S came through with a brand new M4 which, 10 years on, I still have and ride as a back-up bike.

    Nice nostalgia trip.

    -F

    PS - some of those bikes ended up with slightly curved frame tubes. This was also a result of the inconsistent dispersion of the ceramic: post-weld heat treating would stress-relieve the aluminum, but the ceramic does not respond to the heat so the inconsistencies in material were manifest in warped tubes. The resulting stress also contributed to failures. Despite the frames being restrained in a jig during the stress-relief heat process, the stress in the tubes was even greater than the strength of the jigs. (per a letter I received from Univega back in the day)
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

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